It was an exhilarating climax to three days of world class sport as last to go Denis Lynch and the dramatic stallion Cristello rode to a blistering victory in today’s final class at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Berlin the 1.50m DKB Championship competition.
Spectators were kept on the edge of their seats today as Lynch clinched the victory by half a second from Darragh Kenny and Vinci de Beaufour. Third place in the high-octane jump-off went to home rider Katrin Eckermann and Cala Mandia the pair putting in an impressive performance today.
A delighted Lynch praised his horse: “The horse has been in great form recently. To win here on Sunday is really great and I am delighted with him. It is a great class to win, Cristello is very impulsive, a real fighter and trier so we work well together.”
Frank Rothenberger created another masterful course for the last competition of the weekend. There was no let up and put pressure on the combinations to face the course head on, causing faults all over the field. As blue skies provided the backdrop to Sunday’s showdown, fans sat in every inch of shade to watch the world’s best take centre stage.
From the international field of 32 contenders, there were 10 clear rounds that made it into the action-packed jump off. First to return to the ring home hero Marcus Ehning and A la Carte NRW applied the pressure, jumping clear and setting the time to match in 38.46 seconds. However, he didn’t stay in the lead for long as Darragh Kenny swifty knocked him off top spot with Vinci de Beaufour to stop the clock in 36.99 seconds
Young talent Andrzej Oplatek and Conthinder opted for a slightly steadier pace counting on a double clear to help them stay in the placings. While it started to unravel for Pieter Devos after he clipped the Longines oxer and misjudged the side to the final fence causing a refusal and collecting 18 faults, in the end, to rule themselves out of contention.
Germany’s Katrin Eckermann responded with her own fast clear on the stunning 8 year old Cala Mandia. They angled the Idee Kaffee vertical boldly and they just missed out on taking over the lead by the slimmest of margins, recording 38.11 seconds on the clock and clinching third overall.
Riding VDL Groep Hutch, Leopold van Asten judged the challenging course beautifully for his horse’s frame of mind, showing smooth gear changes and obedient turns but they were over a second slower than the time to beat on 38.69 seconds to take 7th overall.
Max Kühner rode Up Too Jacco Blue brilliantly around the shortened jump-off course, but the large striding horse just couldn’t match speed across the ground. It was a valiant try, but the pair could only slip behind, finishing in 38.51s.
A pole for speed merchant Jur Vrieling and Fiumicino van de Kalevallei put the dangerous combination out of contention even though the time was quicker, leaving just three left to challenge early leader Kenny.
Maximilian Weishaupt and Nexus gave it everything they had knifing across the DKB vertical and taking the same strides as Kenny to the finish, but couldn’t quite match the time, finishing in 38.46 seconds and taking home fourth place.
The arena fell silent as last to go Denis Lynch entered the arena with the striking stallion Cristello. Turning on a pinpoint, and ficking his tail as he cleared every fence, the duo shaved milliseconds off the time, flying towards the last to stop the clock in 36.47, taking the win to a roar of appreciation from the crowd.
The Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL team series now moves to the British capital London and the unique venue of Royal Hospital Chelsea for the 9th stage of the 2021 championship race from 13 -15 August and all the action will be streamed live on GCTV.